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IL child support lawyerMany people are struggling financially during these challenging times. If you are a parent with a child support obligation, you may sometimes have trouble making your payments. However, it is important to never simply stop making child support payments. Not only is child support nonpayment heavily penalized in Illinois, child support is also an important source of income for your child’s other parent. If you cannot afford your current child support obligation, it is possible that you may be eligible for a reduced payment through a child support modification.

Penalties for Child Support Nonpayment in Illinois

If you have been ordered by the court to pay a certain amount in child support every month, these payments are not optional. Child support orders are legally enforceable court orders. If you do not pay, you could face major administrative or even criminal penalties. You may be subject to:

  • Wage garnishment
  • Property liens
  • Tax refund interception
  • Driver’s license revocation

Because not paying child support is in violation of a court order, it is also possible that you could be held in contempt of court or even charged with a Class A misdemeanor criminal offense. If you are struggling to make your support payments on time and in full, simply stopping payments is never the answer. Instead, petition the court for relief through a child support modification request.

Requesting a Child Support Modification

The amount a parent pays in child support is based on both parents' net incomes. Payment amounts are designed to be fair and reasonable while still providing the child the financial support he or she needs. If you cannot afford your current child support obligation, you may be able to receive a reduced obligation through a child support modification. There are three main ways that a parent can be granted a child support modification:

  • You or the other parent have experienced a substantial change in circumstances. This change could be the loss of your job, a considerable reduction in your income, a considerable increase in the other parent’s income, or another major change.
  • The current child support order significantly deviates from the child support guidelines set forth by Illinois law and this deviation was not the court’s intention.
  • The current child support order does not account for the child’s healthcare needs.

If the reason you cannot pay your child support is that you were laid off at work or have experienced an income reduction, your child support obligation may go down. However, you will be expected to find suitable employment and show evidence of your attempts to do so.

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IL family lawyerResearch shows that the total cost of raising a child into adulthood averages over $230,000. If you are an unmarried or divorced parent, you may understandably struggle to make ends meet without support from the other parent. Children deserve to benefit from financial support from both of their children, regardless of if the parents are married. This is why Illinois law requires many divorced and unmarried parents to pay child support. Unfortunately, some parents to do not take this essential obligation seriously. If your child’s other parent has not been paying his or her fair share of child support, he or she could face major consequences including wage garnishment and more.

Establishing Child Support in Illinois

Casual child support agreements between parents cannot be enforced by Illinois courts. In order for your child’s other parent to be legally mandated to pay child support, you will need to formally establish child support through the court system. The court will determine the amount of child support based on each parent’s income and assets, the amount of parenting time each parent is assigned, the child’s needs, and other factors. It is important to note that child support orders can only be entered once paternity has been formally recognized. If your child’s biological father is not paying child support and he is not the legal parent of your child, you will need to first establish paternity before you can start receiving child support.

Nonpayment of Court-Ordered Child Support

Court-ordered child support payments are mandatory. Special circumstances may qualify some parents for a reduced child support obligation through a child support modification. However, a parent cannot refuse to pay child support simply because he or she does not want to. If you already have a court order for child support and your child’s other parent is not fulfilling his or her obligation, he or she can face serious consequences including:

  • Wage garnishment
  • Garnishment of bank accounts
  • Interception of state and federal tax refunds
  • Property liens
  • Driver’s license suspension or revocation and
  • Possible jail time

If your child’s other parent is not making support payments in full and on time, a qualified family lawyer can help you enforce your child support order through the court.

Contact a Kane County Child Support Lawyer

At Shaw Family Law, P.C., we understand how vital financial assistance from child support is to a single parent. If your child’s other parent is not paying child support, we will help you take the steps to get you the financial support you and your child need. Whether you want to establish paternity, start child support for the first time, or enforce an existing child support order, we are here for you. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with a skilled St. Charles family law attorney from our firm by calling 630-584-5550 today.

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